Historical Treaties of Southeast Asia

Online Seminar: The operation of China’s diplomatic institution in the 19th century, based on the perspective of Chinese envoys in Berlin.

2024-04-12 13:15 - 15:00

Online Zoom Seminar.

The 19th century witnessed significant changes in the relationships between the East and the West. China experienced the arrival of modern diplomatic institutions as highly impactful, and China’s response to these has for long been observed through the classic paradigm of “Impact-Response Theory.” However, an increasing number of case studies have demonstrated and emphasized that modern China’s diplomatic institutions are deeply rooted in imperial China itself. This revelation may prompt a shift in the historical paradigm. While there are similarities between China’s diplomatic institutions and the Western diplomatic system, its practical operation mainly adheres to the political logic of imperial China. The forms these institutions took were not constant but evolved through adjustments made by imperial China according to its actual needs.

Therefore, the functioning of modern China’s diplomatic institution needs to be thoroughly ‘re-researched’ and revaluated. This talk aims to address this significant issue from the perspective of a group of “professional diplomats” – China’s envoys to foreign countries. The talk is divided into two parts. The first part examines the Chinese government’s methods and measures for dealing with Westerners in the 19th century from a macro perspective spanning a long duration, focusing on the establishment and changes of the diplomatic institution. The second part consists of two case studies illustrating how the Chinese envoy in Germany, Lü Haihuan 呂海寰 (1843-1927), handled diplomatic events.

HUANG Tian is a PhD Candidate at Hamburg University studying Chinese diplomatic relations and practices during the Qing era, focusing in partciular on the history of Sino-German relations in the 19th century. He obtained his Master degree at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences in 2014. Having received a Bachelor degree in Engeneering before that (at the Northwestern Polytechnical University), he is also interested in the history of scientific and technological exchanges between China and the West, focusing on the history of agriculture and medical exchange. He has authored several articles on these topics that have appeared in the Journal of the National Museum of China, the Chinese Journal of Science and Technology History, the Global History Review and in Modern China.


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All Dates

  • 2024-04-12 13:15 - 15:00

Past Events

Presenter: Deborah Besseghini (University of Turin) Pre-registration required.

Manila, Philippines
Conference organized by the Historical Treaties of Southeast Asia research project.

Presenter: Isaac Donoso (University of Alicante) Pre-registration required.